“Concerns about increasing shortages of antibiotics in The Netherlands”

“The Dutch Medicines Evaluation Board (College ter Beoordeling van Geneesmiddelen, CBG) is concerned about the increasing shortage of antibiotics in pharmacies. This mainly concerns the smallspectrum antibiotics. These are agents that specifically work against a small number of bacteria. The agents leave other bacteria, which are harmless or even indispensable to our bodies, untouched.

As a result of the shortage, patients are more often unnecessarily prescribed a different type of antibiotic that is effective against many more bacteria. This also encourages all kinds of bacteria to develop insensitivity to antibiotics.

The shortage is due to the fact that companies are less and less able to supply the smallspectrum of antibiotics to pharmacies. One of the explanations mentioned is a shortage of raw materials. According to the CBG, the problem is growing and the number of alternative means is more limited than before. This is not good for patients.

Vice-Chairman Barbara van Zwieten of the CBG also makes a connection with the cautious prescribing behaviour of antibiotics in the Netherlands. This reduces pharmaceutical companies’ turnover and makes it less lucrative for them to keep drugs on the market and develop new antibiotics.

According to the CBG there is, among other things, a shortage of broxil (125 mg/5ml and capsules in 250 and 500 mg). Alternatives to broxil, such as phenoxymethylpenicillin (capsules 250 mg), are available in varying quantities. The alternative floxapen (flucloxacillin drink) is also not available at the moment. In the past, broxil and floxapen have been able to compensate for each other’s shortfalls.

The CBG wants the antibiotics that are currently in short supply to continue to be available to patients in the Netherlands because there are insufficient alternatives. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has been informed by the CBG of the increasing shortage of antibiotics.”

Source: NOS (in Dutch)



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